We came back with empty hands

Client: Eastern Congo Initiative | Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Project: We came back with empty hands

The goal of this research project is to share lessons learned from past reintegration processes to improve future programming for former underage combatants and youth at-risk for joining armed groups. 

Our Part:
Art Direction
Post Production
Motion Graphics

From Their Perspective :
Why Young People from Somalia and Afghanistan Leave Home


In recent years, European countries have seen an increase of migrants from developing countries. This migration trend, often described as a “crisis,” has been characterized by the deaths of hundreds of thousands of migrants who take significant risks to reach their destination countries, as well as a significant concern regarding the lives of migrants in countries of destination. Despite the many benefits migration brings to both home and host communities, donor governments have sought to invest in programs in countries of origin that might reduce the flow of people to Europe. In this video Mercy Corps and Samuel Hall presents new evidence on this ongoing debate. Drawing from two countries of origin of many migrants to Europe – Afghanistan and Somalia – the accompanying report tests assumptions about ‘root causes’ of and ‘solutions’ to migration.

Mercy Corps Brief: https://www.mercycorps.org/research/driven-leave-aid-and-migration

Subsist or Persist :
Assessing Drivers of Migration and Effects of Foreign Assistance Programs on Migration from the Northern Triangle


Drawing on pre-existing research and new research (surveys and interviews) from Mercy Corps Guatemala programs, this report examines factors causing people to flee Central America — including economic hardship, climate change, and violence — and the links between development programs in the region and migration. By examining two Mercy Corps programs focused on agricultural development and urban violence prevention, this report integrates the wide-ranging voices and experiences of men, women, boys, and girls in Guatemala who are the targets of policy decisions related to migration and as a result, directly affected by them. The report concludes with recommendations on how U.S. policymakers can advance policies that effectively and humanely address migration from Central America.

Mercy Corps Report: https://www.mercycorps.org/research/subsist-or-persist

Loom: Woven Together

The Project:
LOOM is a group of creative and enterprising women, working in collaboration with local Chicago designers to produce beautiful, handmade products. Learn more about the artisans and their beautiful products at www.loomchicago.org

Client: Catholic Charities
Our Part: Concept, Creative Direction,
Cinematography, Post Production

Sheikha Fatima Lectureship: Messengers of Peacebuilding

The Project: Messengers of Peacebuilding
On May 9th the Unites States Institute of Peace held the inaugural Sheikha Fatima Lectureship at its headquarters in Washington, DC. This event featured four distinguished women leaders who examined the critical importance and the impact of communicating stories of women and peacebuilding through media, public affairs, film, and philanthropy.

Client: United States Institute of Peace
Our Part: Post Production ( Maren Wickwire )
Credits: Producer: Art Works Projects
Creative Director: Leslie Thomas
DP: Ron Haviv

Kickstarter: The Prosecutors Documentary

The Project:  Kickstarter Campaign for THE PROSECUTORS

The Prosecutors is the compelling story of Amani and Jasmin, two dedicated lawyers who fight to make sure that survivors of sexual violence in conflict get access to justice. The film was conceived out of a belief that the law is for everyone, especially those who have lived through unimaginable crimes during war - whether it be yesterday or twenty years ago.

Client: Art Works Projects

Our Part: Co-directed by Leslie Thomas and Maren Wickwire
Post Production: Maren Wickwire
Title design: Desiree Agngarayngay

Agents of Change: Men, Peace & Security

The Project: Men, Peace & Security - Agents of Change

The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), The World Bank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) – North America, Women in International Security (WIIS), Promundo – US, and Sonke Gender Justice co-hosted a symposium titled Men, Peace & Security: Agents of Change at USIP on October 28-30, 2013. This symposium aimed to better understand how the ascribed norms of men and masculine identities contribute to, and may even help mitigate, violent conflict and post-conflict.

Client: ART WORKS Projects / USIP

Our Part:
Post Production

Produced by: ART WORKS Projects
Directed by Leslie Thomas
Cinematography: Ron Haviv

BLOOD/STONES: Burmese Rubies

The Project: BLOOD/STONES: Burmese Rubies
Creating a video trailer for the exhibit Blood/Stones produced by ART WORKS Projects to introduce the concept to new venues and donors
Reflecting on the exploitation of a country and featuring the photography of Christian Holst.

Client:  ART WORKS Projects
Our Part: Concept, DP, Post Production, Motion Graphics
Producer, Interviews: ART WORKS Projects:
DP: Christian Holst:

ART WORKS Projects: an introduction


Monthly event to highlight current issues and exhibitions at the ART WORKS Projects studio in Chicago.

Video for ART WORKS Projects fundraiser.

The Project: SEE CHANGE
A video that introduces ART WORKS’ mission, which
includes projects exposing genocide, extreme sexual violence, women’s rights, famine, child labor and human trafficking, ethnic cleansing and tyranny. ART WORKS selects topics which are the most intractable, the least covered in the mainstream media, and the most abusive for victims. (Image above: visitors entering the James Cohan Gallery in NYC to see Congo/Women)

Client: ART WORKS Projects

Our Part:
Creative Co-Producer/ Direction
Post Production

Co-Producer/ Director: Leslie Thomas

Colombia: Women Mediating Peace

A collaboration with Unites States Institute of Peace and ART WORKS Projects

Synopsis: Women have played groundbreaking roles in Colombia’s peace process between the government and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC. With a peace agreement in sight and on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2016, we created this video documenting efforts to strengthen the capacities of Colombia’s women as mediators, supported by the United States Institute of Peace.

Directors: Leslie Thomas & Maren Wickwire (Manifest Media)
Camerawork & Editing: Maren Wickwire
Associate Producer: Claire Dillon
Funded by the United States Institute of Peace



ART WORKS Projects is pleased to announce the launch of Transitions, a four-part international cultural exchange between the cities of Chicago, Bogotá, Goma, and Sarajevo.

With major support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Transitions will bring together creative teams from Bogotá, Colombia; Chicago, Illinois; Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This group will co-curate a photography exhibition to highlight several national journeys of transitional justice in post-conflict environments.

This project will consider multiple aspects of post-conflict society and challenges and successes at varying stages of transitional justice, from across the centuries to recently established zones of fragile peace. It will foster a discussion of varied definitions of otherness and the difficulties these multi-faceted communities face. By sharing diverse post-conflict experiences, Transitions will foster the development of new ideas and solidarity among fellow global citizens.

Client: ART WORKS Projects

Directors: Maren Wickwire
Camerawork & Editing: Maren Wickwire
Associate Producer: Claire Dillon

The Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC) and the WARM Foundation, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Photographer Midhat Poturovic midhatpoturovic.com

Centro Nacional De Memoria Histórica, Bogotá, Colombia
Photographer Juan Arredondo juanarredondo.com

Yole!Africa, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
Photographer Martin Lukongo

ART WORKS Projects, Chicago, United States
Photographer Sophia Nahli Allison sophianahliallison.com

We came Back

Client: Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Our Part:
Creative Direction: Maren Wickwire
Post Production: Maren Wickwire

The Project: We came Back
This video introduces a research project done by the Eastern Congo Initiative and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
Understanding the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Children Formerly Associated with Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.